R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri
A special stamp and Big B
Chest and abdomen specialist Dr Sharat Gupta of Patiala is also an avid collector of stamps and coins.

‘Most Wanted’ women
Shrine in need of shine


Bank strike
: Protesting against the alleged anti-employee policies of the State Bank of Patiala, the All-India State Bank Employees’ Federation has given a call for a national-level strike in the bank from January 23 to 25. Earlier in December last, the employees had also staged a dharna against the management.

One arrested: A proclaimed offender, Prem Kumar alias Kala, a resident of nearby Jagpalpur village, has been arrested, according to Mr Sukhchain Singh Gill, ASP, Phagwara. Prem Kumar was wanted in a case in connection with causing hurt with dangerous weapons, house trespass, assault.

Theft in shop:Thieves decamped with Rs 32,000 in cash and a computer and mobile sets worth Rs 1.18 lakh from a mobile shop in Hargobind Nagar-Patel Nagar area here on Saturday.

SEMINAR: The second seminar on Gauva will be organised under the leadership of Dr Rajinder Singh Abiana, Deputy Director, Horticulture, Ludhiana, on January 23 at Mangat Waryam Stadium, Kubbe, near the Neelon bridge, according to Dr Harnail Singh, Horticulture Development Officer, Samrala. Farmers from all over the district would participate. The local MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, would preside over the seminar.

DEAD: Mr Nachhattar Singh (75), father of Mr Balwant Singh Mahadian, general secretary of the Punjab Gandhi Manch, was cremated at his native village, Mahaddian, on Friday. Mediapersons and politicians of all political parties attended the funeral.



School function
: Blue Pearls Convent School organised its annual prize distribution function on Saturday. The Panchkula SDM, Mr Virender Dahiya, was the chief guest. The school principal, Mrs Renu Choudhary, gave the welcome speech. A cultural show was held that started with a bhajan.


Khair logs stolen
: A theft has been committed in a depot of the Forest Corporation on Ondh Panchayat on Friday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC and Sections 41 and 42 of the Forest Act has been registered. Thieves decamped with 93 khair wood logs valued at Rs. 46000.

Cong violating norms: BJP
: The BJP on Friday accused the Congress of violating all norms and rules in the Panchayati Raj and local body elections, while pressurising the official machinery to tilt the scales in favour of the ruling party. In a statement here on Friday, state BJP spokesperson and MLA, Dr Rajiv Bindal, said the Congress was using official machinery to gain control over posts of president and vice president of municipal council’s.

Director takes charge: Mr DP Bhargava has joined the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam as Executive Director of the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Project (NHPC) on deputation from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation. A bachelor in electrical engineering from Roorkee University joined the NHPC in February, 1979, and served the organisation for about 27 years in various capacities.



A special stamp and Big B

Dr Sharat Gupta of Patiala displays ancient temple coins from his collection
Dr Sharat Gupta of Patiala displays ancient temple coins from his collection. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar

Chest and abdomen specialist Dr Sharat Gupta of Patiala is also an avid collector of stamps and coins.

Occupying pride of place in his collection is an unused postage stamp, the first to be issued in India after Independence. The stamp shows the Tricolour with the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ inscribed on it. The stamp also featured on KBC-2, with Amitabh Bachchan having posed this question to a contestant, “What was depicted on the first postage stamp to be issued in independent India?”

Dr Gupta does not remember how he acquired the stamp. He got to know of its value and importance later through a quiz column carried by ‘The Tribune’ on Saturday for stamp-lovers.

One of the questions in the quiz was, “What was written on the first stamp issued by independent India?”

“I realised its significance when I read the answer and also saw the photo of the stamp in this column,” says Dr Gupta.

Besides, the 24-year-old doctor has a huge collection of coins of various countries and two old temple coins passed on to him by his grandmother.

Dr Gupta graduated from Government Medical College, Amritsar, and did his specialisation from the Society for Advanced Studies in Medical Sciences, run by the Delhi Government.

‘Most Wanted’ women

The district administration of Rohtak has launched a search for its ‘Most Wanted’ women. The Deputy Commissioner, R.S. Doon, has put a reward of Rs 25,000 on the heads of each of these women. These women may not be the proverbial bandit queens, but their activities are nevertheless highly deplorable. They collude with some doctors to enable pregnant rural women to undergo sex determination tests and also get abortions done for a hefty sum. 

Officials say there is one such woman in almost every village of this district. Upset by these reports, the Deputy Commissioner has issued an appeal to “every right-thinking citizen of the district” to help the police nab these women for a reward of Rs 25000 each. Though it remains to be seen how many women land in police lock-ups, the Deputy Commissioner’s effort to tackle the problem of declining sex ratio has gladdened the hearts of many women’s organisations. Although Haryana as a whole has one of the lowest sex ratios in the country and Rohtak is among the worst-affected districts. 
The problem has assumed alarming proportions with doctors deploying women agents in the villages to act as conduits. The officials say this is a clever ploy as it is far easier for a young, impressionable mother-to-be to succumb to the arguments of an older village woman advocating a sex determination test.

Since land holdings in this district are among the smallest, the prospect of the birth of a daughter weighs heavily on the minds of young mothers, especially if it’s going to be the second child. This makes the task of the ‘Most Wanted’ women much easier. Hopefully, no longer, what with a handsome reward dangling on their heads.

Shrine in need of shine

A view of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex
A view of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex in Chamba.

Established by the lover of art, King Sahila Varma (920-940 AD), during the 10th century, Chamba is a town of temples. But with the passage of time, the rooftops of many of its temples have begun facing decay. This calls for urgent repairs in view of the mega Chamba millennium celebrations slated from April 13.

The 1000-year-old temples like Lakshmi Narayan, Hari Rai, Bansi Gopal, Sita Ram and Bhagavati Champavati, which are richly carved and tastefully engraved, throw light on Chamba’s glorious past. The Lakshmi Narayan temples are located near the Akhandchandi Palace in the town. The three main temples in the cluster — Lakshmi Narayan, Radha Krishna and Lakshmi Damodar — are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, while the other three temples — Chander Gupt, Gauri Shankar and Trayambakayshwar — are dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Owing to the ravages of time, the roofs of certain temples have developed cracks and rain water trickles down these during the monsoon. This can spoil the beauty of the artwork if not renovated in time.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is responsible for preserving these temples, claims that their upkeep is getting top priority. ASI officials say that a proposal to renovate the decaying roofs of the temples has been prepared and submitted for approval to the authorities concerned.

Contributed by Rubinder Gill, Raman Mohan and Balkrishan Prashar


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